Police Chief Discusses Sexual Assault Kits
Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. was recently asked about the numbers of sexual assault kits in the custody of the HPD and how a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant will help the police department be a leader in best practices involving sexual assault kit evidence and testing.
The NIJ issued a nationwide request for research proposals to identify solutions to establish valid and reliable practices for handling sexual assault kit (SAK) testing to serve as a model process.
The HPD stepped forward with a proposal and was one of only two police agencies in the country awarded the grant funds (along with Wayne County, Michigan) to conduct an action research project that requires criminal justice researchers, lab personnel, investigators, prosecutors, and victim services organizations to work together to address the issue of untested kits. This research project has been divided into assessment (Phase I) and implementation (Phase II).
Chief McClelland addresses questions on the numbers of sexual assault kits in the custody of the HPD and says he looks forward to the NIJ researchers' conclusions at http://www.youtube.com/user/houstonpolicedept
Because many jurisdictions around the country are dealing with this same problem, Houston could lead the nation and become the model for best-practice protocols regarding when evidence should be sent to the crime lab, testing procedures, follow-up police investigation, prosecution and the crucial issues of victim support, justice and public safety.